All Wars Monument in Princeton to be restored

The All Wars Memorial at the corner of Mercer and Nassau streets will soon be renovated, thanks to fundraising efforts led by the Princeton Chapter of the American Daughters of the Revolution.

A total of $30,000 has been raised to help renovate the memorial that honors the sacrifice of “our sons and daughters who gave their lives for freedom.” The Princeton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, The Garden Club of Princeton, and Princeton University will contribute nearly 80 percent of the projected cost for cleaning and restoring the iconic curved limestone bench, medallion and steps.

Designed by prominent early 20th century architect Harvey Wiley Corbett, the monument was created in 1925 to commemorate those who served in World War I, but was later rededicated to all who have served America in a war. The monument’s original construction was financed by community-wide fundraising led by the Princeton Chamber of Commerce and residents living in and around Princeton, including members of the Garden Club of Princeton and their spouses. The Garden Club of Princeton has tended the gardens surrounding the memorial for decades.

The Daughters of the American Revolution and the Garden Club of Princeton collaborated on plans for the renovation with guidance from Princeton’s Historic Preservation Commission. Architects Tom White and Elric Endersby, representing the Princeton Historic Preservation Commission, assisted the two non-profits in obtaining an assessment of the work needed and quotes to complete it. Restoration work will include cleaning the bench and the medallion and repairing masonry on the bench and the steps. Masonry Preservation Group, Inc., a company that has done work for Princeton University, including restoring masonry at the University Chapel, has been selected to perform the restoration work.

The Daughters of the American Revolution and the Garden Club of Princeton are each contributing $12,100 to the project. Princeton University will contribute $5,000, and the municipality will fund the remaining 20 percent of the project cost.

It is hoped that work can begin in October, 2019 so that the restoration of the monument can be celebrated on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Garden Club of Princeton President Robin Gosnell said the schedule is very tight for the restoration to be completed by Veterans Day. “Whenever the celebration occurs, it will be a wonderful day for Princeton,” she said.

The Daughters of the American Revolution spearheaded fundraising efforts for the restoration in 2018.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this joint community project honoring the sacrifices of our citizens to preserve the freedom gained in the Revolution,” said Rosemary Kelley, first vice regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The two non-profit groups presented the town with checks for the project at the council meeting on Monday night. Mayor Liz Lempert said the project is a great example of community institutions working together to help the town achieve a goal. “We are delighted to be able to assure the future integrity of this well-loved monument at one of the gateways to Princeton,” Lempert said.

Founded in 1911, The Garden Club of Princeton was established with the purpose of furthering an interest in and knowledge of gardening, horticulture and conservation among its members and the Princeton community. For more information about the Garden Club of Princeton, visit gcprinceton.org.

The Daughters of the American Revolution is a women’s service organization dedicated to honoring patriots of the American Revolution and promoting historic preservation, education, patriotism, volunteerism, and support for veterans. Visit the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution website at dar.org for more information.